Why do people shame influencers/content creators?
Ouf! As a content creator, this is a hard subject to write about. I remember once my little brother told me that if he’d click on a girl’s Instagram link on a dating website and her Instagram looked like mine he wouldn't even give her the time of the day. This is the most hurtful comment that I’ve been told but also truthful. I didn’t realise Instagram was something to be ashamed of. I am often scared to say that I create content and that I love photography because it has affected my past relationships. Funny story, once, I hid from a guy I was dating that I did content creation because he belittled social media. I felt like I was living a double life. To this day, I regret not being truthful and being ashamed of what I liked to do. I try to be as real as I can on my social media without sharing my private life. My goal is to create, not to portray a picture perfect life; that doesn’t exist! A few months ago, I was in a Clubhouse discussion and this exact subject came on the table; the stigma behind being an “influencer”! I am writing this article to hopefully change the negative connotation that surrounds the words ‘’social media’’.
Before I get into it, I think we need to differentiate the words ‘’influencer’’ and ‘’content creator’’. I could go on and on about this but I will try to keep it short and sweet. This is how I differentiate these two terms (I hope I don’t offend anyone.) For ME, an influencer is someone that wants to sell its followers products. Most of these so-called influencers gained sudden popularity, often due to their appearance on reality tv shows, not because of the originality of their content. Again, this is a general statement. I don’t want to put everybody in the same basket. I know some great influencers that started unique businesses because of the platform they gained after attending a ‘’reality’’ tv show. The other type of ‘’influencer’’ is someone wanting to portray an idyllic life (picture perfect) without sharing the reality. I think this is the early stages of the content creators title which evolved with time. Nowadays, a content creator is someone creative that receives products to try out and take aesthetic photos. Most content creators don’t make money until they hit a huge following, meaning that the products they receive are gifted. There is so much work involved in being a content creator because you are the photographer, the stager, the model… The quality of your pictures need to be impeccable and consistent since you need to make a lasting impression or else no one will hire you ever again. Are there nuances between these two terms: ‘’influencer’’ and ‘’content creator’’? Yes, a lot. Do I think we need to judge this case by case? Definitely.
In this day and age, I think social media is a necessity for most businesses. Most people under 40 don’t have any tv services (cable) except Netflix, Prime video and so on. It is a marketing tool that is accessible to all. I think before belittling something, we need first to understand it and then recognise its positive outcome. Small businesses don’t have budgets for billboard ads, tv commercials… Their social media is a perfect way to promote their business (services and/or products.) Often they can hire content creators and influencers to visit their business to talk about it on their social platforms. They usually pay them in services or experience which cost them little to nothing. On the other hand, have you ever hated an actor doing a toilet paper commercial? Of course not! They are actors. It's their job. In 2021, anybody can do a toilet paper ad and that's the beauty of social media.
Last but not least. This is a personal experience that has bothered me but that I have never shared. Everybody in my life takes out their phone at an event, a dinner, a visit in a cute coffee shop to share the moment with their followers… That is the world we live in. But when an ‘’influencer/content creator’’ takes out its phone, people judge them and label them ‘’social media addict’’. Why is it acceptable for the person with 100 followers to take a picture of their beautiful latte while an ‘’influencer/content creator’’ is judged negatively for doing so. That is something I still don’t understand and I think I never will.
Finally, this year creating pictures and collaborating on a gifted basis with numerous brands was so much fun. It gave me a purpose. I had something to do while waiting for my career to take off. I ‘’met’’ wonderful positive influences over these social media platforms. The real question is: why does everyone of us do it?